Being an explorer like Carl Linnaeus

You probably have heard about this guy: Carl von Linne, who invented a system of naming plants and animals by giving them two names each. He was nothing less than a boring paper-shuffler. He loved the beauty of nature, he was an explorer and he was a good writer. That we know because he kept diaries from his travels, one of them to the vast region of so-called Lappland. Actually, Linne did not travel it all, but covered impressive 2000 km within 6 month in 1732.

Source: Alexander Roslin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; Linne in Sami clothing: https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003666985/?loclr=blogint

He not only collected plants and observed nature, he also met many Sami people whom he found very hospitable. Their way of dealing with the harsh climate and using every part of the reindeer impressed him deeply. Linne himself started wearing Sami clothing, which he used even after returning to home to Uppsala.

When he visited Jokkmokk  he was very little impressed by the priests –  ”I could not help myself to wonder about so much arrogance, stubbornness and banal talk.” Much more impressive he found fishing freshwater pearl mussel in the so-called Pärlälven. This species is capable of making fine-quality pearls, and was historically exploited in the search for pearls from wild sources. Clean, fast-flowing  rivers are required for the freshwater pearl mussel, where it lives buried in fine gravel and sand.

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Once the most abundant bivalve mollusc in ancient rivers around the world, freshwater pearl mussel is today an endangered species and can not longer be found in the Pärlälven. Already Linne wrote that the river has been empty of mussels due to overexploring. However, to visit the Pärlälven is highly recommended. The river is not exploited by hydropower and the water is clear and clean. It is an unique nature area with old virgin forest. Eagle, hawk, otter, lynx and wolferine live here. So make it like Carl von Linne and go on a trip along the Pärlälven!

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